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How ‘understanding the sports fan’ can boost pub sales

By Georgina Townshend , 17-Jul-2017
Last updated on 17-Jul-2017 at 11:51 GMT2017-07-17T11:51:37Z

Best shared: Understanding the sports fan is key for pubs
Best shared: Understanding the sports fan is key for pubs

What sports fans want from their pub experience is to be offered a mixture of sport, atmosphere, and something different to what they get at home, according to MatchPint’s co-founder Dominic Collingwood.

Speaking at The Morning Advertiser’s Maximising Sport in Pubs event on Thursday, 13 July, Collingwood explained what makes sports fans tick, and how pubs can meet their needs.

A MatchPint survey of more than 1,000 sports fans across the country found that while 50% of the participants said they mainly watch football in a pub, 44% of those are also interested in watching rugby union, 42% boxing and 12% cricket.

Collingwood said if pubs add up all the sporting events of the year, while football has the largest audience, it is “still only half a sales opportunity”.

“Paying for Sky and BT and only showing premier league football is like buying a keg of beer and selling 35 pints, then throwing the rest in the bin,” he said. “We would never do that with a keg of beer.

“However, if you only show Premier League football, that’s essentially what you are doing.”

Creating a point of difference

Collingwood said that 94% of the survey’s participants said if they had a good experience watching sport in a pub they would return.

However, statistics have found 69% of fans visit two or three different pubs for live sport, with only 11% visiting one pub for all their sporting needs.

“Competition is increasing, and it’s not just from the pub down the road. It’s from home, it’s from devices when on the go,” Collingwood said.

“How do we get people off the sofa and into pubs? At home you get amazing screens, surround sound - why would you leave that?

“We are unable to compete now with what happens at home, so we need to create a point of difference.”

To do this Collingwood advised pubs to broaden their sports range, to get online and get mobile, to invest in big screens over HD, provide commentary, run table service, introduce mobile ordering, set up games and wagers, and to get an Xbox.

Sport is best shared

Collingwood added: “Sport is the ultimate form of theatre; Shakespeare could not have written Zinedine Zidane nutting Marco Materazzi into next week.

“Sport is best shared, it brings people and communities together, and as the cornerstone of British society there is no better place to enjoy sport than in the pub.”

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